While much of estate planning is designed to protect us from the negative impact of misfortunes like incapacity or premature death, keen estate planning attorneys are just as concerned with protecting us if we hit the jackpot. If you reside in Southeastern Massachusetts or on Cape Cod, the accomplished attorneys of Surprenant & Beneski, P.C. are ready to assist you in preparing or updating your estate plan to suit your new circumstances.
While not many of us have to worry about preparing to win the lottery, a meaningful percentage of us will inherit significant wealth, have businesses that thrive beyond our expectations, invest in a company that expands exponentially, or land a new job that provides a large increase in income and benefits.
Whatever the reason your wealth increases significantly, it’s time to make an appointment with your estate planning attorneys or to find a new legal team even better prepared to protect your newfound prosperity.
Planning for an Anticipated Inheritance
According to the Federal Reserve System, Baby Boomers are 10 times wealthier than Millennials. As Baby Boomers age, therefore, many of their offspring are becoming, or have already become, recipients of sizable inheritances. If you are on the receiving end of a large inheritance or are expecting to be, you should consult with a strong estate planning attorney to:
- Clarify your understanding of estate tax law and probate (note that Massachusetts has only a $1 million threshold for state estate taxes that is all-inclusive)
- Further protect your assets from predatory lenders, creditors, lawsuits, and, with your increased wealth, you can become a target of a scam.
- Discuss how much of your inheritance should be tapped now and how much of it should be stashed safely away for retirement, your children’s college funds, or future occasions, such as weddings or trips you intend to take
- Help you to be realistic about not using your inheritance to climb into a mountain of debt too high to repay, e.g. by purchasing a home you are not able to maintain
- Assist you in financing a business or planning for business succession
- Help you plan your own legacy by establishing a foundation or donating a substantial amount to an educational or medical institution, a religious organization, artistic enterprise, or cause close to your heart
*It’s important to recognize that your increased wealth will make you a tempting target
Tools Your Estate Planning Attorney Will Use to Help Plan for Your Inheritance
In order to avoid probate and estate taxes, protect your assets, provide funds and a guardian for your minor children if you become incapacitated or die at a young age, your estate planning attorney will:
- Draft a last will and testament to state your wishes
- Create revocable and irrevocable trusts as needed to protect your assets
- Help you assign a durable power of attorney to a reliable individual who will handle business matters if you are incapacitated
- Have you choose a health care proxy to make medical decisions for you if you are unable to do so
- Have you fill out an advance medical directive to state what steps you want taken to preserve your life (e.g. feeding tube)
A carefully worded, well-organized estate plan puts you in control of your finances, the distribution of your assets, your health care, and, to the degree possible, your family’s future.
Contact Our Experienced Estate Planning Attorneys
At Surprenant & Beneski, we are ready to assist you in prosperity as well as in hard times, and we are well aware that, since money is not everything, the two sometimes coexist. Make the most of your inheritance and make an appointment with us soon to experience the calm wise counsel provides.